GameDaily has just posted up a new interview they conducted with Bill Roper, who as per a press release sent by Cryptic Studios, is going to be a new Lead Designer on Champions Online.
“As you probably know, a few months ago we had to lay off all of our employees at Flagship, so really what we’ve been doing is trying to work with banks, creditors and former employees to wrap things up. We’re not supporting any products right now.” So when pressed if that meant that it was officially over for the Hellgate: London developer, he responded, “All the principals and employees have moved on. At this point and time, HanbitSoft has purchased the IP, which was being held as securities. Namco will keep their servers up until January 31, 2009.”
Roper is not bitter over his time at Flagship, and in fact thinks that he learned lessons there that he’ll be able to apply at Cryptic. “It can be a problem with a game that you try and go too broad, and I think we did that with Hellgate,” he admitted. “With Champions Online, we’ll focus on making something that’s not wider but is much deeper.”
As a nine-year veteran of Blizzard who has worked on the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo franchises, Roper hopes to apply those lessons of success to Cryptic. “It was a meritocracy at Blizzard, and they were willing to take someone who was new in the industry and give them some freedom if they did well,” he commented. “So I’ve had experience directing, producing and went up to VP level there.”
Roper assured us that he was very excited about coming to Cryptic and he even revealed that it wasn’t the standard route to employment. “I think it was fortuitous. I was really just trying to get into the beta for Champions Online,” he commented. “I was into the game even before the beta, and I read about it constantly because I was a big City of Heroes fan. I went to a friend of a friend, and we just started talking about things and as the discussion evolved, we found we had some similar ideas. It’s great coming to a place like Cryptic, a place with some very passionate designers, and it’s nice to be less of a suit!”
“The first thing I’m going to be doing, is talking with the guys and digging deeply into what Champions Online is now. There’s a lot of fantastic stuff here, and we’ll focus on figuring out what’s working, what needs some polish and rethinking other things. We’re approaching the game from the standpoint that those people who are familiar with the license will be comfortable immediately and those people who aren’t familiar or who like to solo play will have their own niches carved out,” he concluded.
While we know Bill Roper as the CEO of Flagship Studios and his game Hellgate: London which we have covered for a long time, many people always blamed bad decisions of the managing team for the fall of Hellgate London. It was even stated by Bill many times that they tried to take on too much and couldn’t handle it all.
This is why it seems a bit weird that rather than putting Bill into a design position or maybe a storyline position he is being thrust straight into such a leading position. Champions Online was another game that we followed on the Guru websites, so it’s going to be sad if it ends up failing like Hellgate London.
Either way, good luck to Bill on his new venture and hopefully he has more success with the new game.